Funds available to address the COVID-19 pandemic

The FY 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program has total funds available of $850,000,000


The COVID-19 grants landscape is changing rapidly, and many agencies are struggling to keep up. In this on-demand webinar Ask the Experts: COVID-19 Grant Funding for Public Safety, grant experts Jerry Brant and Samantha Dorm will provide insight and recommendations to help agencies secure grants for COVID-19 response. Register here.

On March 30, 2020, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance released its guidelines for the FY 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF). This program is designed to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. Total funds available: $850,000,000

States, units of local governments and tribes that received a direct allocation of FY19 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds are eligible to apply for this non-competitive grant opportunity. Check the CESF program list to confirm eligibility.

Funds awarded under the CESF Program must be utilized to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, the following:

Allowable projects and purchases include supplies such as gloves, masks and sanitizer. (Photo/RCSD)
Allowable projects and purchases include supplies such as gloves, masks and sanitizer. (Photo/RCSD)
  • Overtime
  • Equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment)
  • Hiring
  • Supplies (such as gloves, masks and sanitizer)
  • Training and travel expenses
  • Initiatives to address the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails and detention centers.

Again, these items must all be associated with efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic.

During this time of crisis, the Office of Justice Programs has included medical PPE as an allowable expense.  In many states, correctional facilities are run independent of the municipal police department. Cities and counties are encouraged to work together to address the medical needs of inmates in state, local and tribal prisons, jails and detention centers. This may result in the release of low-risk inmates back into the community. Overtime may be incurred for enhanced supervision and technology to assist in monitoring offenders while ensuring the safety of the community, officers and correctional staff.

The eligible allocations for the FY 2020 CESF Program can be found here.

Sample Allocation Amounts: 

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Departments not listed for a direct allocation should contact their State Administering Agency to obtain information on how their state will distribute its portion of the CESF grant.

How to Apply

Applications are due before midnight eastern time on May 29, 2020. Applicants must register in the OJP Grants Management System (GMS) at https://grants.ojp.usdoj.gov/ prior to submitting an application under the solicitation.

It is noted in the guidelines that all applicants must register, even those previously registered in GMS. Please complete the registration steps as soon as possible to ensure that the application will be submitted on time. It is always good to try to submit early while assistance is available from the GMS Helpdesk to address any technical issues that may arise.

When will the funds be available?

The grant period of performance is set to start on January 20, 2020, and lasts for up to two years. Regular JAG allocations cover a three-year performance period. There is no indication at this time that funds could be used to reimburse for expenses incurred prior to the start date. Please check with your State Administering Agency to determine if consideration will be made for reimbursement of 2020 expenses if there is a need. Under the current structure, departments will be allowed to draw-down funds either in advance or on a reimbursable basis during the approved project period.

To draw down in advance (after the beginning of the project period), funds must be placed in an interest-bearing account, unless one of the exceptions in 2 C.F.R. § 200.305(b)(8) apply. See details in the CESF Program Guidelines.

The link to the program guidelines can be found here.

Additional Resources

Many companies, from major multinationals to local businesses, are supporting first responders with new products, logistical and technical expertise to procure PPE or support operations, or free or deeply discounted products for departments, personnel and the families of public safety personnel. The Lexipol team has compiled a list here

Grant Administration Tip

Consider redirecting funds from other grant accounts that will expire during the current stay at home period. Tips on the process to submit budget modification requests to obtain permission BEFORE reallocating funds can be found here. The tips are applicable to all safety-related activities to address the coronavirus.

The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is always available to assist. We offer grant-writing services, application assembly and review, along with grant research assistance.

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